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Sharing Reusable Settings in InDesign

Collaboration doesn’t just mean sharing a page or a document. Often designers work together on separate documents within the project, on different projects of a larger campaign, or, especially within in-house creative and production departments, with a variety of different projects and campaigns that share common attributes. Whenever a designer re-creates something that would more easily be obtained another way, time and money are wasted. I don’t know about you, but I hate blowing time or money on anything that doesn’t bring a smile to somebody’s face. Although everything that follows has been covered, in depth, in other chapters, a review is warranted. Besides, here it’s all in one place, in succinct how-tos. The following settings may be saved out of InDesign as reusable settings and then shared to other InDesign or InCopy users.


User dictionaries, including added, removed, ignored, and excepted spellings and hyphenations.

Export Go to Edit ➢Spelling ➢Dictionary and click the Export button. You’ll be prompted to save a Word List.txt file. Change the filename to something unique and meaningful in case the recipient receives multiple exported dictionaries.

Import Go to Edit ➢Spelling ➢Dictionary and click the Import button. When prompted, locate the TXT file you received from a collaborator. Importing a dictionary adds it to the current document’s document-level dictionary. If you import a dictionary with all documents closed, the word list will become part of the default InDesign dictionary and thus applicable to all new documents you create.

Paragraph, Character, Table, Cell, and Object Styles

The various styles aren’t saved to external files but rather become part of the INDD documents

in which they’re used. Thus, there is no export instruction.

Import On each of the styles panels there is an Import command—for example, Import Character Styles on the Character Styles panel. Execute that command, and then, in the resulting Open dialog, navigate to and choose the INDD InDesign document or INCX InCopy document containing the styles you’d like to load into the current document. Loading styles with all documents closed make those permanent parts of InDesign, and the styles will therefore be available in every new document you create.

Both the Character Styles and Paragraph Styles panels offer the Load All Text Styles command, which will load both character and paragraph styles in one step. Similarly, the Table Styles and Cell Styles panels have a command to load both of those in a single step as well.


As are styles, color swatches are saved as part of the documents in which they’re used. Unlike styles,

however, they can also be saved to external files that can then be shared among other InDesign documents

as well as saved to Photoshop and Illustrator.

Export On the Swatches panel flyout menu, choose Save Swatches. This command is disabled until you select a nondefault swatch in the panel itself. When prompted, save the Adobe Swatch Exchange ASE file to disk.

Import Choose the Load Swatches command from the Swatches panel flyout menu in InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop and load the ASE file.

Stroke Styles

Custom-designed striped, dotted, or dashed stroke styles.

Export On the Strokes panel flyout menu, choose Custom Stroke Styles. If you have created any custom stroke styles, the Save button will be available. Click it and choose a destination for your stroke styles.

Import To import, return to the Custom Stroke Styles dialog and choose the Load button.


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